One of my new favorite places to walk is an unexpected park just a few blocks from our house. On the map, it’s called Mill Hill Park and doesn’t look to be all that special – it even has roads running through it. Well, Chris and I decided to check it out anyway to give Pip a change of scenery, and now I’m hooked on meandering the cow paths and trails through the fields and woods that make up this “park”.
Because the native vegetation is actually really beautiful. And the park is amazingly large for the location. And I’ve only seen another person there once. And the roads that run through it? They look like this:
Oh yeah, that’s right, a lot of roads on Nantucket are dirt roads. I don’t think anyone drives on this road; Nora and I followed it for a while today and discovered the Colored Cemetery. (I know, I thought about calling it something else, but that’s the name on the sign.)
Most of the graves appear to be from the 1800’s. There were a few from the early 1900’s and some that were too worn or damaged to read, and a lot of fenced off land with no markers. The historic marker plaque said that the earliest known burial was in 1798 and that the town voted in 1805 to give one acre of land to “the Black People or People of Color” for their burying place.
There were a few Memorial Day flags, so it was nice to know that it wasn’t a completely forgotten place, though it certainly seemed that way when we stumbled upon it. It makes me curious to know more about the history of African American’s on the island.
By the way, Did you know how Chris’ restaurant got its name? Brotherhood of Thieves is taken from the title of an 1844 pamphlet that vigorously attacked those who continued to support the institution of slavery, even as the tide of abolition rose. (There’s a piece of random trivia for you.)
After visiting the cemetery we headed back along another trail, stopping to take some obligatory Nora and Pip pictures:
I’m really fascinated by the fact that the whole top of the building spins so that it can always be facing into the wind. I guess that makes sense, but it never occurred to me that windmills could do that. And, this one still does apparently, because last week when I walked by here it was facing the other direction. I wish I could have seen it being turned (I was a little tempted to give the wheel a spin myself, but decided that might not be such a good idea).
I continue to be amazed by the history and beauty here – Nantucket is more than just beaches, that’s for sure. Just don’t tell the tourists – Nora and I like having the park to ourselves.